Sidney Cornwell was sentenced to death for the gang related murder of three year old Jessica Ballew.
Sidney Cornwell did not receive a fair trial:
-The jury had members prejudiced for the death penalty. The court set an arbitrary time limit on voir dire that disrupted the jury selection process and undermined constitutional safeguards.
-The murder weapon was never found and there is no physical evidence linking Sidney Cornwell to the crime.
-The most crucial testimony came from Cornwell’s accomplices who gave this testimony in exchange for favorable treatment by the prosecutor.
-Sidney Cornwell was the denied the effective assistance of counsel before trial, during voir dire, and when counsel failed to object to the instruction on complicity.The mitigating factors of Sidney Cornwell’s life outweigh the aggravating circumstances
***According to psychologist James Eisenberg no one was around to give Cornwell the discipline, structure, support, and affection he needed on a continuing basis, raised in an unstable abusive family. The gang gave Cornwell the kind of discipline, structure, and support that he did not receive from an effective male role model. Cornwell’s intellectual ability at the time of the crime was close to that of a thirteen year old.